The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached a settlement with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; four former Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. elected officials; and organizations representing watermen and sport fishermen in resolving a lawsuit filed last year claiming the EPA had failed to take adequate measures to protect and restore Chesapeake Bay.
The settlement tracks much of the regulatory actions the EPA has initiated or pledged to take under the Obama Administration to restore water quality in Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
These actions include establishing the stringent Chesapeake Bay total maximum daily load, putting in place an effective implementation framework, expanding its review of Chesapeake Bay watershed permits and initiating rulemaking for new regulations for concentrated animal feeding operations and urban and suburban storm water.
The agreement also includes a commitment to establish a publicly accessible tracking and accounting system to monitor progress in reducing pollution.
"Because EPA and the co-plaintiffs share the same goals of clean water in the Chesapeake Bay and the waterways flowing through communities in the region, we felt that a settlement building on our common goals was far more positive than defending a lawsuit filed in the Bush Administration," EPA deputy administrator Bob Perciasepe said in a statement.
"Through the executive order issued by President Obama, this administration is committed to making real progress in restoring water quality, and our strong actions and rigorous accountability system are evidence that EPA is serious about reducing pollution," he added.
In other news, the EPA this week announced guidance to help federal facilities reduce their pollution to the bay.
The EPA is delivering to federal land managers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed tools and practices to reduce water pollution from a variety of non-point sources, including agricultural lands, urban and suburban areas and septic systems.
This guidance to provide the technical tools that will be needed to restore the bay is in response to the Chesapeake Bay executive order issued by President Obama in May 2009.